T-Shirt Rug Tutorial

Here’s another project that fits firmly into the “tired of staring at it because it’s been sitting on my desk for over a year so I might as well finish it” category!

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There’s no real reason that it took me so long to finish, other than I got continuously distracted by other projects and lost my momentum on it. It was the fourth crocheted t-shirt rug from this series that I posted a while ago, in which I allude to the method but don’t provide much of an explanation. Today I am remedying that!

But FIRST! Here’s how to make T-shirt yarn via Endlessly Inspired.

I got the idea of using yarn to crochet around the t-shirt strips from Pinterest (of course) but felt that I could make things a little more interesting by experimenting with stitch designs..
MerryPrankster2…. which was fun, but sometimes one desires a more mindless exercise. So I experimented with ducking the t-shirt yarn strip in front of and behind the stitch, and came up with a design that makes the strip form  eye-pleasing rings of bobbles or nubs, or in the case of my most recent rug, stones on sand.

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Crocheting around the T-shirt yarn in this way is soooooo much easier, neater-looking, and more economical  than trying the crochet the t-shirt yarn itself. I always make my own t-shirt yarn, so it’s also better because it’s easy to switch from one ball to another with this method. So enough talk… how is it done?

Crocheted T-shirt Rug How-To

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You need:

A large amount of cotton or acrylic yarn (A skein of Caron One Pound usually gets the job done nicely, with some to spare)

T-shirt Yarn (I use home-made, but store bought works too!)

A 6.00 mm hook

Start by making a magic ring. 6 sc into the ring tightly. Sc into the first sc of the first round to begin a joinless, in-the-round crochet circle. *

*I will not be giving instructions for increases in the round because I’m making the assumption that the crocheter already knows how to handle this – just work them in the same proportion as you usually would or decide how many you need to keep it flat as you go. 

In the second round of stitching, hold the t-shirt yarn flat against the last row and start to stitch the single crochet over the tail of this yarn until you have worked 3-5 stitches or have anchored it securely. Once you have secured the t-shirt yarn, you will begin weaving it in and out of the sc stitches.

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This isn’t a picture of the second round, but you can see where I have begun the new strip by anchoring it within the sc stitching before I start weaving it in and out.

Continuing to work in the round (and adding increases where necessary), hold the t-shirt yarn to the back of your work and work a sc in the next stitch. Keep in mind that the t-shirt yarn should be completely to the back of the work so that the yarn is not held within the stitch at all.

*Tightening the sc after working it by holding the loop steady and pulling on your working yarn makes the rug nice and firm and helps the t-shirt yarn bobbles look neat.

Before you work the next stitch, bring the t-shirt yarn completely to the front of the work, so that you are working your next sc behind the t-shirt strand.

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Work the next sc, tighten it down if necessary, then return the t-shirt strand to the back of the work – this will wrap the t-shirt yarn around the stitch you just made, creating a little t-shirt bobble.

With the t-shirt yarn at the back, make another sc in the next stitch.

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Continue alternating holding the t-shirt yarn in front or back, until you get near the end of the strand or decide to change colors. Return the t-shirt yarn to the top of your work and work a series of several sc stitches OVER the yarn, so that it is trapped in the stitch again. Do this until the end is reached, then begin the next strand the same way.

I like to vary the proportion of bobbles in the front (i.e – bring the t-shirt yarn to the front every two stitches, every three stitches, etc) to provide visual interest, or alternate rounds of bobbles with rounds of t-shirt yarn carried along inside openwork stitches.

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T-shirt yarn carried inside openwork stitches (granny blocks in this case)

As I’ve mentioned before, carrying T-shirt yarn along while you crochet regular yarn is a lot easier on your hands than trying to crochet the t-shirt yarn itself!  And this way, there’s tons of variations you can try.

My rugs usually end up being somewhere between 32-45″, for use as small accent rugs or even table centerpieces (and if you use all cotton materials, really awesome hotpads are possible!)  Lately, I’ve been thinking more about making them specifically for use as djembe rugs for the drum-circle going type! This of course has nothing to do with the djembe I recently purchased after a drumming workshop.

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Ain’t she pretty?

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Typical. I finally finish a project that I’ve been dragging my feet on, and I immediately want to start another.

-MF

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26 thoughts on “T-Shirt Rug Tutorial

  1. Wow. I LOVE the texture of this. It looks like something that should cost 600 bucks at West Elm. I totally hear you on the year long projects though. Way to actually finish ‘er off! Doesn’t it just feel amazing to finally check it off your list?

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  2. Pingback: Hookin' on Hump Day #117: Link Party for the Fiber Arts - Petals to Picots

  3. I really like your projects. I use your tutorial about crocheting around a stone,to ‘cozy’ my gemstones and regular stones. Thanks 🙂

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  4. Where do you find all of the colorful tshirts to make your tshirt yarn. And enough tshirts to have make enough? I started a crochet a tshirt rug but stopped because I didn’t have enough to finish my round 😦 maybe I should tear it all out and start over using this method. Thanks

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    • A lot of my t-shirts come from Goodwill (especially from the half off rack, making them about a dollar a shirt) but I also find them at garage sales and from friends. When shopping for t-shirts I try to get the largest sizes I can find, to get the most for my money. For the rug featured in this post, I think I used somewhere around 4-5 t-shirts (mostly from size large or extra large) but I definitely know what you mean about not being able to finish a round – I’ve made rugs from the traditional t-shirt rug method where you actually crochet the t-shirt yarn and it’s A HUGE pain if you are trying to do it with homemade t-shirt yarn strips, because you only get a handful of yards out of one t-shirt. Using a carrier yarn like I did here makes your homemade yarn go A LOT further. Since I started using this method I have never once been tempted to go back to using the old method, lol!

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  5. Hi, first time visitor here and I am enthralled by this tute. You have come up with a huge winner here. As you said above, trying to crochet with the t-shirts themselves is problematic for several reasons but you have eliminated all that with this ingenious method of using two kinds of yarn and creating a lovely finished product.With the one baseball-sized ball of cotton yarn and a t-shirt of hubster’s I am going to try making a table mat for my sister who is coming to live with us next month forever. I can use her favorite Pastels inside the white cotton yarn.

    Many thanks for this fabulous way of doing tshirt crocheting. You have a new subscriber and fan.

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    • Thank you – I’m excited that you’re going to try it, feel free to ask if you have any questions about the method! I have always wanted to make a table mat set – let me know how it turns out!
      -MF

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